Yankees fall to Toronto again

August 31, 2008 5:23:47 PM PDT
Roy Halladay made the most of Yankee Stadium's final season. Halladay won his fourth straight start, giving him four wins over the New York Yankees this year, and Scott Rolen homered for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 6-2 victory Sunday.

The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner, Halladay improved to 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA in five starts against the Yankees this season. He won twice in the Bronx, making a few lasting memories before New York moves into its new ballpark next year.

"I think at some point it kind of sets in for everybody that there's been a lot of incredible baseball to come through this place," Halladay said.

The right-hander became the first pitcher to beat New York four times in a season since Chuck Finley went 4-0 for the Angels in 1996. Halladay kept a game ball and some Yankee Stadium dirt as souvenirs from Sunday.

"Just keep my kids from playing with it," he said. "I couldn't get away with a monument, so I'll go with the dirt."

But if he could choose one, which monument would he try for?

"Babe Ruth - if I could've got it in my bag. But I don't think I could've got away with it," he said, smiling.

Rod Barajas hit a two-run double that was misjudged by New York left fielder Xavier Nady, and Toronto played error-free ball again in its final game at Yankee Stadium.

The Blue Jays took two of three in this series to finish 100-124 at the old ballpark, their most wins at any venue outside Toronto. They also set a club record by completing their 12th consecutive game without an error, the longest streak by a major league team this season.

"I've had a lot of great times here," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.

After the game, Toronto traded infielder David Eckstein to Arizona for minor league pitcher Chad Beck.

Halladay (17-9) tossed seven effective innings, allowing only solo homers to Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. He gave up at least one hit in every inning but his last.

"I feel better than I have in past years at this point," Halladay said.

On a beautiful afternoon in the Bronx, Vernon Wells' RBI single off Andy Pettitte (13-11) put Toronto on the board during a three-run first inning. The Blue Jays are 35-27 since Gaston took over as manager from John Gibbons on June 20.

Barely clinging to slim playoff chances, the Yankees finished a 2-4 homestand against Toronto and Boston. They begin a four-city, 10-day road trip Monday with a makeup game at Detroit.

New York scored three runs or fewer in five of the six games on the homestand.

"We've had our backs up against the wall a lot lately - and even more now," Johnny Damon said.

Halladay, 14-5 with a 2.90 ERA against the Yankees, tied Jim Clancy for second place in Toronto history with his 128th win. Dave Stieb had 175.

Scott Downs and Brandon League each worked a hitless inning to finish it. Downs hit Rodriguez and Giambi with pitches in the eighth.

Pettitte, who won 5-1 at Toronto on Aug. 20, lasted 6 1-3 innings and dropped to 17-11 against the Blue Jays. He was charged with six runs and 10 hits for the second consecutive outing.

"I'm not getting it done and that's all there is to it," Pettitte said. "This is the time when I should be winning ballgames. I'm letting a team down big-time. It's just frustrating. I'm not doing my job. I know how precious every win is right now."

The lefty walked leadoff batter Marco Scutaro in the first and he scored on Wells' opposite-field single.

Barajas followed with a catchable drive to deep left, but Nady misplayed it. He took two steps in before trying to retreat, and it was too late. The ball went over his head and landed near the edge of the warning track for a double that made it 3-0.

"I just misread it, got a bad jump and couldn't recover," Nady said.

Batting eighth, Rolen opened the second inning by hitting a 1-2 pitch to left for his eighth homer this year and second since June 25. He came off the disabled list Tuesday.

Rodriguez hit his 547th home run leading off the fourth, moving within one of Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt for 12th place on the career list.

Giambi connected to start the sixth, his 28th of the year, but Toronto added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh. Scutaro's double put runners at second and third before Eckstein, the DH, lined an RBI single that chased Pettitte. Scutaro scored on Jose Veras' wild pitch, making it 6-2.

Notes: RHP Joba Chamberlain (rotator cuff tendinitis) will travel with the Yankees on their road trip and probably will be activated Tuesday from the DL, manager Joe Girardi said. ... New York plans to call up C Chad Moeller and LHP Phil Coke from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when rosters expand Monday. ... Toronto's 65 errors are the fewest in the AL.